Your wedding day is one of the most important days of your life so you’ll certainly want to look and feel your best and most healthy self. Eating an energy releasing breakfast on the morning of your wedding is important but don't forget that your health preparations should start well before you walk down the aisle. Setting yourself a wedding fitness regime in the run up to the big day has so many amazing health benefits, but the best part is that you don’t even have to slog it out in the gym for hours on end to get your ideal body – hooray!
We spoke to fitness expert Georgia Tyler, the head of Fit Brides and creator of Sweating for the Wedding, who gave us her top tips for wedding fitness and some exercises that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
An Introduction to Wedding Fitness
It’s no surprise that brides often feel a crazy amount of pressure to look good on their wedding day. Not only is there the worry of fitting into your dream wedding dress, but an endless amount of pictures will also be snapped over the course of the day.
Unsurprisingly, Georgia revealed that over 90% of brides hope to shed extra pounds before getting married. However, perhaps more shockingly, as many as one in three will resort to crash dieting in an extreme bid to get their ideal bridal body.
The good news is that crash dieting is completely unnecessary – which is great seeing as it has no benefit to your overall health and is unlikely to give you the results you want anyway.
“I’ve seen a lot of wedding programmes that recommend a diet of just 300 to 800 calories a day which is absolutely absurd,” says Georgia. “There’s no way that you’d be able to function. Restricting calories can not only be harmful for your body, but it will leave you feeling low in energy, hungry and miserable during a time which should be the happiest of your life.
“As a bride to be, you have enough on your plate to be worrying about counting calories and spending hours in the gym. You need a simple, safe plan that you can actually stick to.”
There are lots of little lifestyle changes and exercises you can do that can easily be worked around a busy wedding planning schedule. Make these small changes and you’ll be sure to see the results you want.
When Should I Start My Fitness Regime?
There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to when you should start your wedding fitness regime, explains Georgia: “It really does depend on your starting point and how much weight you want to lose. The sooner you start the better. Don’t wait until the last minute to try and lose weight and then expect miracles.
“You should be thinking about your diet and exercise plan as soon as you start your wedding planning, so that you don't end up resorting to a crash diet in a bid to lose pounds at the last minute. Ideally you should aim to reach your weight loss goal within 4 weeks of your wedding, in time for the final dress fittings. That way you’ll be able to focus more on the finishing touches of the wedding planning rather than worrying about fitting into your dream dress.”
Set Yourself Short Term Goals
Make sure you take regular exercise over the first four to six weeks for general fitness, then start to target specific areas such as your stomach, thighs and bottom. Keeping a fitness diary will also monitor your progress and help you to feel good about your achievements.
“Mentally, it’s much easier to focus and stick something out when you have a smaller goal over a shorter period of time,” says Georgia. “Focus on one month at a time, rather than your overall goal, bearing in mind that you’re likely to lose the most weight in the first month or so.”
Thankfully, your regime doesn’t have to revolve around the weighing scales either. Don’t just focus solely on the goal of weight loss, set yourself little challenges in between such as completing a 5K run or walking to work every day for a month – which will also save money on your wedding budget seeing as you won’t be spending so much on petrol.
Georgia also recommends that it’s important to reward yourself whenever you reach one of your goals: “Whether it’s buying yourself a new outfit, treating yourself to a facial or having a night out with your hubby-to-be, reward yourself with something that’s going to make you feel good. Just don’t pick something that will undo all your hard work, such as a large pizza or a tub of Ben and Jerry’s!”
What if I’m Short on Time?
Finding the right kind of exercise regime to suit your needs and schedule can vary from a brisk walk to a full workout in the gym or an exercise video that you found online.
If you have a demanding work and life schedule that rarely allows you to fit exercise in, then try to make lifestyle swaps wherever you can. For example, ditch the car and walk to work or the shops and try to take the stairs instead of the lift – even just taking up small exercises like this will help you keep trim.
High intensity interval training (known as HIIT for short) is great for a busy bride. This consists of short bursts of intense exercise mixed in with small rests, which could benefit you more than a long session in the gym.
“You need to start sweating and exercising alongside a healthy diet to make great changes to your body but this doesn’t mean that you need to spend hours on a treadmill,” says Georgia. “You can burn just as many calories in 20 minutes with high intensity workouts that contain a mix of cardio and bodyweight exercises (which include push ups, squats or any other movement that involves you using your bodyweight).
“You have enough on your plate with the rest of the wedding planning so fitting in 20 minute workouts five to six times a week is doable for even the busiest of brides. Just set the alarm clock 20 minutes earlier or squeeze your workout in while you watch an episode of your favourite show.”
If the thought of exercise literally makes you shudder, get yourself hooked on a TV series to distract you while you do these high intensity workouts. Finally, a healthy excuse to have a Netflix addiction!
Exercises to Do at Home
If you haven’t yet heard of Tabata style training then get yourself familiar with it ASAP, especially if the gym isn’t for you and you’d rather stick with a home based workout.
Tabata is the ideal workout for a busy bride as it is a high intensity workout that combines a lot of fitness and weight loss benefits – who knows, it could become one of the new wedding trends for 2016.
Let us pass you onto Georgia to explain a bit more about it: “Tabata is a high intensity workout where you perform an exercise with all-out effort for 20 seconds, then you rest for 10 seconds and then repeat until you’ve hit four minutes. Four minutes is just for one round - you can make up a 20 minute workout by completing a total of four rounds.”
Intrigued? Georgia has devised a 20 minute total body Tabata workout as part of her Sweating for the Wedding programme for brides to try at home.
The workout includes a mix of cardio and bodyweight exercises that target each of the body areas that brides are most commonly concerned about – as mentioned before, the stomach, thighs and bottom.
“As long as you put your all into it, the workout will burn a ton of calories,” explains Georgia. “Your body will even continue to burn calories off afterwards as well. The only equipment you need is an exercise mat and a Tabata timer app such as ‘Tabata Stopwatch Pro’, which you can download for free. Oh and some water - it’s important to keep hydrated.
“When you’re ready to go, press start on the app and it tells you when to exercise and when to rest. Rest for 1 minute between each round.”
Here’s the breakdown of the workout to get you started:
Round One: Mountain Climbers + Planks
“In the first round we're mixing cardio from the mountain climbers with a bodyweight all-rounder,” says Georgia. “You'll really feel it in your core on this one but you also should feel it in your shoulders and legs as you work to stay in position.”
- Starting with the mountain climbers, get into the plank position and pull one leg into your chest then swap with the other leg as if you’re running. Do this for 20 seconds.
- Rest for 10 seconds and then move on to the plank position and hold for 20 seconds.
- Repeat this sequence until the four minutes is up.
- Rest for one minute and move onto round two.
Round Two: High Knees + Curtsy Lunges
Georgia explains: “Curtsy lunges are great for sculpting the legs and glutes and the high knees will definitely get you sweating. If you feel your knees begin to drop on the high knees, really focus on bringing them back up to hip height to get maximum calorie burn.”
- First the high knees. Jog on the spot and bring your knees up as close to hip height as you can. Do this for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds as before.
- Now 20 seconds of curtsy lunges. Keep feet shoulder width apart and stretch each leg back in turn so that you are in the curtsy lunge position.
- As with round one, alternate between these two moves until four minutes is up.
- Rest for one minute and move onto round three.
Round Three: Squat Jumps + Butt Kicks
“Squats are the ultimate move to perk that butt,” says Georgia. “Adding in a jump at the end alongside the butt kicks will really keep that heart rate pumping. “
- As before, do each move for 20 seconds then rest for 10 seconds and alternate between the two moves until four minutes is up.
- For the squat jumps, stand with feet shoulder width apart. Jump up and down and squat each time you land.
- For the butt kicks, jog on the spot and kick your feet up as high as you can behind you.
- Rest for one minute and move onto the final round.
Round Four: Push-ups
“For the last round, we're really focusing on the arms, shoulders and back in this but it actually works your core and legs too.” Says Georgia.
- Stick with push-ups for the full 4 minutes. Do rounds of 20 seconds and rest for 10 seconds in between.
- Try starting with full push-ups and drop to your knees if you need to.
When you’re ready, watch Georgia’s video to see the full tutorial for each exercise:
Tips for Getting Fit in the Gym
If you’re thinking of joining the gym for an extra wedding fitness boost then choose your gym wisely, ensuring it not only has up to date equipment but also qualified staff.
A good gym instructor will be interested in you and your personal fitness needs and will be able to work out a personalised training programme with you.
If the instructor pushes you beyond your limits or fails to listen to your needs, then go elsewhere. Don’t forget that you must tell them about any particular problems you may have such as a heart condition or a bad back.
The gym is a great option to keep you fit and trim but won’t be worthwhile if you only attend once in a while. If this form of exercise is to work, then you must attend regularly and give yourself specific aims. Know what you want to achieve and go for it.
Take Up a Sport
If the thought of the gym bores you and you want to get more kicks out of your workout, then take up a new sport such as aerobics, swimming and tennis.
There are also load of team sports across the country that you could take part in, plus it’s a great way to meet new people and you could even bring your bridesmaids along and get fit together. Be wary of the risk of injuries before the wedding though.
Above all, have fun and don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while to get the results you want. Getting fit and losing weight healthily takes time, but stick with it and you’ll feel fabulous inside and out when you finally get into that dream wedding dress. To find out more about Georgia’s fitness programme for brides, check out her website Sweating for the Wedding.
If you’re yet to pick your wedding dress but are unsure of the right one to show off all your hard work, then check out our ultimate guide to wedding dress styles to find the perfect style for you.
Images and video courtesy of Georgia Tyler from Fit Brides Limited.